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Wednesday, October 31, 2012
Norwich City fans could be forgiven for thinking the club’s recent penchant for late comebacks had gone with Paul Lambert for Aston Villa.
However, Chris Hughton showed last night how he is able to change the path of a game with inspired substitutions as City secured their place in the quarter-finals of the Capital One Cup with a dramatic late show against Spurs.
City were in truth second best for most of the evening and it was no surprise when the majestic Gareth Bale put Spurs in front with a fine right-footed strike.
However, the introductions of Alexander Tettey and Simeon Jackson proved the turning point shortly after. Tettey, who looks to be a real find by Hughton, helped pull his side level when his shot deflected home off Jan Vertonghen and four minutes from time Simeon Jackson pounced from close range to make it 2-1.
The drama still wasn’t over though as Kyle Walker tumbled too easily over Marc Tierney’s challenge. The referee had been fooled but Mark Bunn wasn’t by Clint Dempsey’s penalty, plunging to his right to preserve City’s lead and have their fans dreaming of a date at Wembley.
Michael Turner was the sole survivor from City’s 1-1 draw at Aston Villa as Chris Hughton stayed true to his work by ringing the changes. Steven Whittaker came in for his debut on the right hand side of defence and would have known he was in for a busy evening with Bale included in the Spurs starting XI.
Jonny Howson skippered the side, sitting in front of the back four alongside David Fox as Jacob Butterfield got another chance to impress in the League Cup after an injury-plagued start to his Norwich career. The former Barnsley man was charged with the task of providing the ammunition for Steve Morison up front on his own.
The former Millwall man looked like he could be in for a long evening early on as Spurs dominated possession without offering any real threat on City goalkeeper Mark Bunn. Bale had cut a peripheral figure early on but sprung to life in the 17th minute, capitalising on Marc Tierney’s poor clearing header but his curling left-footed shot from the edge of the area was well held by Bunn. The Welshman had found his appetite and when he was allowed far too much time in possession he was able to play a killer pass to Dempsey with the USA international unlucky to see his clipped finish go just over the bar.
Spurs were beginning to turn the screw and the tactical switch which saw Bale move to the right flank was threatening to bear fruit.
Tottenham looked far superior in possession with the likes of Howson and Fox forced to chase shadows in the middle of the park for long spells.
Bale still looked the player most likely to break the deadlock and had Bunn scurrying across his line when he unleashed a 25-yard fizzing shot which flew just wide.
Howson almost brought the Carrow Road faithful to life with a speculative right-footed shot after latching on to Fox’s lay-off but Lloris watched the ball sail several yards wide. The half-time whistle offered City a little respite from chasing their Tottenham counterparts but Chris Hughton’s men came out looking more purposeful at the start of the second period. • Half-time: Norwich City 0, Tottenham Hotspur 0
Andrew Surman had a great chance after exchanging passes with Morison on the edge of the box but just when he could see the whites of Lloris’ eyes, Caulker threw himself in the way to block.
Morison had a decent chance after nice interplay with Butterfield but the goal that Bale had threatened all evening came in the 66th minute. The winger moved in off the left flank and ghosted past Fox before producing an excellent right-footed finish from the edge of the box.
Hughton immediately introduced Jackson and Tettey and it seemed to have a galvanising effect on the Canaries. Howson brought a good save out of Lloris with a right-footed shot but seven minutes from time Norwich were level.
The dynamic Tettey pounced on a poor clearance and his left foot volley which was heading wide took a deflection off Vertonghen and found the bottom corner.
Two minutes later and Norwich were in front as substitute Holt met Snodgrass’ free-kick and Lloris could only parry into the path of Jackson, who hammered home.
Spurs immediately went up the other end and won a soft penalty when Walker went down very easily under Tierney’s challenge.
Dempsey stepped up and saw his well struck penalty brilliantly saved by Bunn.
• City: Bunn, Whittaker, Turner, R Bennett, Tierney, Howson (c), Fox (Tettey, 69), Surman (Holt, 82), Snodgrass, Butterfield (Jackson, 69), Morison. Subs not used: Rudd, E Bennett, Garrido, Barnett.
• Spurs: Lloris, Naughton, Dawson (c), Walker (Defoe, 90), Caulker, Bale, Sigurdsson, Falque, Livermore (Huddlestone, 45), Carroll (Vertonghen, 79), Dempsey. Subs not used: Cudicini, Lennon, Townsend, Smith
• Goals: City: Vertonghen (og, 83), Jackson (86). Spurs: Bale (66) • Bookings: City; Bunn (89). Spurs: Bale (38)
• Ref: Jon Moss (West Yorks)
• Attendance: 16,465